Origin of the Chen-yen/Shingon/Mikkyō Order

The origin of the Chen-yen/Mi-tsung Order in China can be traced to the Vajrayāna monk Śubhakarasiṃha (s)/Shan wu wei (wg), who is said to have come from the famous Indian Buddhist University Nālānda. By way of the Silk Road he arrived in the Chinese capitol Chang-an around 716 during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (py)/Hsuan-tsung (wg) (712-756). Together with Yixing (py)/I-hsing (wg) he translated the Mahāvairocanaabhisaṃbodhi and the Susiddhikāra Sūtras into Chinese in 725 and 725 CE respectively.

In 720 the monk Vajrabodhi (s)/Chin-kang Chih (wg) arrived in China from the south by sea. In the same year Amoghavajra (s)/Pu-kung Chin-kang (wg) arrived in Loyang. Together they translated the Sarvatathagathatattvasamgraha/ Tattvasamgraha (s).

Amoghavajra was particularly active, personally advising three Emperors (Hsuan-tsung, Suan-tsung and Tai-tsung (wg)) as well as translating more than eighty texts.

The Chenyen order, being an oral transmission, was shared only with a small number of students and therefore it never became widespread. The Japanese monk Saichō studied Chen-yen/Mi-tsung doctrine briefly under Master Shun-hsiao (wg) at Kai-lung ssu temple in Yueh-chou (Chekai Province) in 804 and thereafter introduced elements of the Chen-yen/Mikkyō doctrine to the Japanese Tendai Order.
The Japanese monk Kūkai/Kōbō Daishi (j), studied Chen-yen/Mi-tsung doctrine under Master Hui-ko of Ching-lung ssu temple in Chang-an, and transmitted Mi-tsung (ch)/Mikkyō (j) to Japan in the year 800 where it became known as the Shingon Order.
After Amoghavajra's death the influence of the Chen-yen/Mi-tsung Order waned, and after the persecution of Buddhism by Emperor Wu-tsung (wg) in 845 there was little left of it.
Only in the year 1924 was the Chenyen lineage re-intoduced to China when the Japanese monk Gonda Raifu preformed the consecration ceremony at Kai-yuan ssu Temple in Ch'ao Chou.

Nālānda Buddhist University
|_ Śubhakarasiṃha (s), Shan wu-wei (py), Zenmui (j) (637-735) arrived via Central Asia in Chang-an China in 716.
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|        |_ Yixing/Yilin (py), I-hsing (wg) (673-727) (korean)
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|        |_ Shunxiao (py), Shun-hsiao (wg) of Lung-hsing-Tempel
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|                |_ Saichō (j) (767-822) returned to Japan in 804 and founded the Japanese Tendai Order
|_ Vajrabodhi (s), Chin kang-chih (wg), Jin'gang zhi (py), Kongochi (j) (671-741) arrived by boat in China in 720.
|_ Amoghavajra (s), Pu-kung Chin-kang (wg), Bukong (py), Fukukongo (j) (705-774) arrived in Loyang China in 720.
|_ Hui-kuo (wg), Keika (j) (746-805) of Ching-lung Ssu temple in Chang-an
|_ Kūkai/Kōbō Daishi (j) (774-835) established Shingon in Japan in 806 established the Shingon Order at Mt. Koya.

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